Monday, October 23, 2017

Denial of race is leftist ideological

Massimo Pigliucci is a philosophy professor, and writes a lot on pseudoscience and related subjects. He posts:
Research on the genetics of skin color differences deals yet another blow to the idea that races are real.
I replied:
The genetics article is only a blow to the straw man idea that race is synonymous with skin color. The prevailing view for centuries has been that skin color is just one of many racial differences, and that view is not at all threatened by the new research. On the contrary, the research helps explain how skin color got coupled to race.
He responded:
What would be the “prevailing view for centuries” of the biology of race? Because my understanding as a biologist is that the prevailing view is that races do not exist. They are, literally, skin deep.
I posted the following reply, with references to back up what I wrote, but Pigliucci promptly deleted it:
Today's prevailing scientific view is that races do exist. For $200, you can get a DNA test if you are not sure of your race. Here are some modern explanations, from different political viewpoints:
On the Reality of Race and the Abhorrence of Racism
More on biology and race
The Biological Reality of Race
Race is not just skin color
Why race as a biological construct matters
Richard Dawkins accepts the usefulness of race

For history, see Wikipedia: Historical race concepts.
For an example of earlier thinking, see the biology textbook used in the 1925 Scopes Trial: "The Races of Man. - At the present time there exist upon the earth five races or varieties of man, each very different from the other in instincts, social customs, and, to an extent, in structure. These are the Ethiopian or negro type, originating in Africa; the Malay or brown race, from the islands of the Pacific; the American Indian; the Mongolian or yellow race, including the natives of China, Japan, and the Eskimos; and finally, the highest race type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America."

While you may disagree with some of this, no one says that race is only skin deep.
He has now closed comments without mine, so I am posting it here.

He did allow this comment, referring to his own paper on the subject:
Note that the Pigliucci and Kaplan paper states that part of the reason for arguing that races don’t exist is political/ideological: “Biological research on race has often been seen as motivated by or lending credence to underlying racist attitudes; in part for this reason, recently philosophers and biologists have gone through great pains to essentially deny the existence of biological human races.”

The paper then starts: “It has become commonplace to claim that, insofar as “race” is a biological concept, there are no human races. This claim, while widely defended, is misguided.”
Note that the paper is unable to show that the race concept is wrong; only that it is political "misguided" because leftists do not approve of some of the implications.

Pigliucci responds:
Please do not patronize me. I have given you plenty of arguments over the years, on a variety of subjects. Never made a dent. And now you perversely insist in using my own paper to make an argument that is either irrelevant or entirely at odds with what Kaplan and I wrote. Enjoy yourself, I will not take part.
Pigliucci won't even defend his own paper!

His arguments don't make a dent because they are contrary to modern science on almost every front, and they are illogical political opinions.

The denial of biological human races is entirely based on leftist politics and ideology. The deniers make silly arguments that do not even make any sense.

Pigliucci is of course a typical academic Trump-hater who complains about Republicans being anti-science. However he is much more anti-science than those he attacks.

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